Short Note on Jollibee.

Barbara’s been writing about Jollibee lately, so I thought I’d respond via the blog. Jollibee is indeed owned/founded by a Chinese Filipino. Interesting, though, that she kind of equates it with colonial mimicry: Jollibee stared down the McDonald’s onslaught in the mid-80s with an advertising campaign that was “nationalistic” in thrust — that Jollibee was the real Filipino fastfood. (McDo was seen fairly early on as emblematic of American identity — and the coolness factor was such that the beautiful people, at least in the early 80s, would be hanging out at McDo for their pre-clubbing snacks.) In any case, the nationalistic ad campaign struck a nerve, and to this day Jollibee has been trouncing McDo in terms of market share. (It also helped that it offered greasy chicken and pansit palabok and that its spaghetti was a little sweeter, just the way Filipinos like it.)

So yeah — the fast-food franchise model may have been derived from McDonald’s, but there was a very conscious effort to portray the fastfood (and its corporate identity) as Filipino. Maybe not “a stronghold of heritage, a monument of Filipino victory” as they unironically describe it on their website, but still…

Happy knows more about this; maybe he can respond.